The Pienta lab utilizes the science of ecology to understand cancer and to design new therapeutic strategies. Ecosystems are considered to be a unit that includes the organisms in a given area (the community) interacting with their physical environment. Ecosystems do not exist independently, but interact in a complex web of relationships, making up the biosphere. As humans, we live in the biosphere of earth. Cancer cells as a species exist in a complex relationship with the other normal cells of a tissue in the ecosystem of the organ it arises from, within the biosphere of the patient.